With Christmas fast approaching you may feel as if your ‘to buy for’ list keeps getting longer; and that finding the right gift for everyone can be a challenging task. Our friends at Activity Superstore have released an interesting article on the psychology and history behind gift giving. It looks at how the gifts we choose and the way in which we present them communicates so much about us, our feelings towards the receiver, and the complex social structures within our community.
Why do we give gifts?
Key life events and celebrations such as Christmas, birthdays, weddings or anniversaries stand out as the occasions when we feel most compelled to give gifts. However, there are other underlying reasons for why we might choose to do so.
To build relationships
Presenting a gift to another individual can establish or reinforce relationships. According to French sociologist Marcel Mauss, the act of not gifting or rejecting a gift communicates the dismissal of a relationship.
A way of showing love and commitment
Gifts are used to communicate the feelings someone has towards another person. A great example of this is when a man offers flowers to their partners as they are traditionally thought to symbolise feelings of love.
Ever heard the saying ‘it’s the thought that counts’? Opening a gift may fill you with happiness, or even disappointed if it wasn’t quite what you would’ve wanted, nonetheless; receiving a present makes you feel something. This is because we attach symbolic meaning to the gifts we give and receive.
To receive something in return
In today’s notion of gifting, there’s often an expectation that this offering will be repaid by receiving something in return. However, it’s essential to get this bit right, as gifting too much or too little can cause embarrassment or hurt feelings.
To help others
On the other hand, we give presents with the knowledge that this gesture won’t be reciprocated, such as to children or our pets. Appreciation for the recipient is the biggest motivator in this type of selfless gifting. Another example of this would be donating to charity, which gives us the feel-good factor.
To find a mate
Animals such as Chimpanzees are known to give gifts as part of the mating ritual, and humans are not much different. A study found that males who gift more generously have a higher success rate of attracting mates compared to females who are more likely to buy gifts for family and friends.
Still not sure what to buy your significant other? Use the gift matrix below to help you make the final decision.
Wedding flowers are one of the most important elements of planning your special day. So how do you select the florist who will provide the flowers for your wedding? What questions should you ask?
Here are our tips:
1. Tell the florist about your venue, the number of guests, the general style you want to create, and your ideas about the decor and colour. If you are like most brides and have collected wedding magazines, show them pictures of previous weddings and floristry taken from these magazines.
2. Ask to see a photo portfolio of the florist’s previous work.
3. Inform the florist your budget – they can then advise you on the best way of meeting your needs.
4. Tell them – how many guests / tables, how many bridesmaids, ushers etc
5. The florist should visit the venue with you at least once.
6. Ask the florist :
a) How many weddings / events they will have on the same day as your big day
b) What flowers will be in season
c) Are there any additional costs – delivery, installation, collection, etc?
d) Can the florist supply candelabras, vases, urns etc or do you need to source these items myself?
Make sure the florist is receptive to your ideas, and that you feel comfortable with them. Remember you are trusting them with one of the most important days of your life!
Giving flowers in the form of beautiful hand tied bouquets is a wonderful gesture, but a further dimension is added if you understand a little about the language of flowers.
Different flowers have conveyed different meanings in many cultures throughout the world, throughout history. The ancient Greeks, the Persians, the Turks, the Chinese and the Indians all developed their own languages of flowers.
The idea became widespread in England in Elizabethan times, and became highly sophisticated by the beginning of the nineteenth century. Not only did individual flowers have their own meaning, but their position when worn was very important as well. For example, marigolds worn on the breast conveyed indifference, while marigolds worn in the hair expressed anguish.
This tradition seems rather quaint in these modern days of text messaging, facebook, youtube and twitter, but it can be fun to send coded messages in the flower bouquets you send to your loved ones
Here are a few flowers with the meanings explained –Calla lily flower – magnificent beauty
Carnation flower, Pink – a woman’s love for a man
Forget me not flower - true love
Freesia flower – friendship
Lilac flower– first feelings of love
Hyacinth flower, blue - constancy
Hyacinth flower, white – unobtrusive loveliness
Orchid – beauty and elegance
Lily of the valley flowers – happiness
Peony flowers – shyness
Mimosa flowers – secret love
Solidago flowers – hope
Sunflowers – adulation
Veronica flowers – faithfullnes, fidelity
Oriental lily flowers – purity
Orange blossom flowers – your purity is equaled by your loveliness
Tuberose flowers – dangerous pleasure
Gladioli flowers – strength of character
Ranunculus flowers – you are rich in attractions
Bird of Paradise - symbolises excitement and joyfulness
Amaryllis - splendid beauty
Anthurium - hospitality
Scent is such a popular element of cut flowers – isn’t it true that most of us automatically, without even thinking about what we are doing, smell a bouquet the minute we receive it?
Flower scents are among the most loved of all smells, and the perfume industry spends an enormous amount of money and a huge amount of effort in trying to replicate the perfume of fresh flowers.
Many flowers have truly exquisite scents among them are hyacinth flowers, muscari flowers, oriental lily flowers, lily of the valley flowers, jasmine flowers, peony flowers , stocks, stocks tazetta narcissi flowers and tuberose flowers. Traditional English roses also have amazing perfumes.
In general, white or pale coloured flowers have the strongest scents, but freesia flowers are the exception to this as the darker pink and red varieties have the strongest scents.
It has also been discovered that the scents of certain flowers can positively effect our emotional well being. For example, the scent of orange blossom or lavender can have a sedative effect, while the scent of roses is a relaxant and citrus is a pick me up.
When you have flower arrangements in your home, it is good to remember that cool rooms offer the best chance of very long vase life for your flowers, but a warmer room will cause the flowers to release more of their perfume. A very cool room will inhibit the full release of flower perfumes.
We love crafting beautiful scented hand tied bouquets at Sherree Francis flowers, with our personal favourite being any bouquet including peony flowers.
For wedding flowers, large massed arrangements including oriental lily flowers, tuberose and stocks will create an exquisite scent that will fill even the largest rooms.
For bridal bouquets, the number one choices are peony flowers and of course, lily of the valley. However, both of these flowers have a very short season, so if you wedding is at a time when they are not available, you could substitute traditional English David Austin roses, or include jasmine, tuberose or narcissi in your bouquet.
We thought we would give some helpful tips regarding flower scents, to help people choose a fragrant hand tied bouquet to perfectly suit any occasion, and to match the personality of any recipient.If you want to send an aromatic bouquet – choose eucalyptus, rosemary, dill and lavender
For an invigorating citrus bouquet – choose waxflower, lemon verbena, and mimosa
If you’re after a spicy or peppery fragrance – go for stocks, dianthus, hypericum and chrysanthemums.
For a gorgeous, heavy and oriental aroma – Choose gardenia, oriental lily, tuberose, stephanotis and narcissi.
For light, floral scents – go for freesia, peony, hyacinth, lilac, rose and bouvardia.
We are delighted to have launched our new website, where we can give our flower business the online presence it really deserves.
It has been a long road to get this website up and running - plenty of get togethers, false starts and loads of very late nights and strong coffee!
We are a London based online florist and offer a next day flower delivery service throughout the UK.
Our first website was launched in 2010 so a new one was well overdue.
We will be regularly adding new products, photos of our events and blogs.
Our new site represents the next chapter of the story – and we cannot wait to share all the latest news and updates with you online.